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How Much Is a Red Light Ticket in Each State?

Red light cameras are used to help prevent red light-related traffic fatalities by taking pictures of drivers who run red lights. These devices have provided a 21% dip in deaths since enforcement of the law. The fine and how the ticket affects drivers varies depending on the state in which they are caught. Some states have made the use of red light cameras illegal. However, law enforcement officers in these states can still issue tickets to those who are caught running red lights. And there are states that treat red light camera tickets the same as parking tickets, holding the owner of the vehicle responsible for the citation regardless of who was behind the wheel. If you do get a red light ticket, you can argue the ticket either in person or by mail. You can also get a lawyer to represent you, though it is not necessary.

If you have recently received a red light ticket, keep reading to see how these cameras work and what actions you can take if you receive a citation.

How Does a Red Light Camera Work?

Red light cameras are connected to the traffic light and then connected to sensors that watch traffic at a crosswalk. They will then take pictures of drivers who pass through a red light instead of stopping. Images that are captured by the red light camera are then processed and evaluated by law enforcement or authorized employees to see if the vehicle in question is in violation and to verify vehicle information. A ticket is then issued to the address associated with the vehicle and only if there is clear evidence that the driver ran a red light.

Many states view running a red light camera as a civil offense instead of a moving violation. While some states will add points or a point to your drivers licence, often, there aren’t any insurance implications or drivers license points added. Some states even prohibit providers from taking red light camera citations into consideration when calculating rates for their customers as well as the possibility of renewal.

Lawyers understand how the legal process works, what documentation is necessary, and they can appear in court on your behalf.

The Ticket Is Triggered by Sensors

There are three components involved in making a red light camera work: the traffic light, the camera and the pavement sensors. These red light cameras are focused on traffic coming from a single direction that uses sensors known as “loop” or "in-road" sensors. They gauge how fast a vehicle is moving as it approaches an intersection. Should these sensors and the cameras estimate you’re moving too quickly to stop, the camera will snap a picture and/or video of your vehicle. Typically the images you receive in the mail with your ticket are of the front and rear of your car and they may show your face.

Third Parties Run Most Red Light Cameras

Many red light cameras are controlled and operated by third-party companies.

You Have the Ability To Have the Ticket Dismissed

You can challenge a red light camera ticket if you feel you received one unfairly. You can challenge the ticket on your own or you can choose to use a lawyer. In many ways, hiring a lawyer is a smart idea because they understand the legal process better than you do. If you can prove any of the following situations to be true, you could possibly have the ticket dismissed:

  • You passed through a red light camera to avoid an emergency vehicle
  • You passed through a red light camera to avoid an accident
  • The red light camera wasn’t functioning properly
  • You were not the one behind the wheel when the picture was taken

While some states will add points or a point to your drivers license, often, there aren’t any insurance implications or drivers license points added.

You can also contest a ticket by mail, usually by filling out the information on the back of the citation you received in the mail. Make sure to attach any pertinent documentation. You will also have to state who the driver of the vehicle was if it wasn’t you.

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How Much Is a Red Light Camera in Each State?

Below is a table showing the cost of a red light camera ticket and a red light ticket issued by a police officer in each state (including the District of Columbia).

State

Red Light Camera Penalty

Red Light Penalty

Alabama

Ranges from a minimum of $60 to a minimum of $100 fine depending on jurisdiction

  • $100 fine for first offense within a year
  • $200 fine for second offense within a year
  • $500 fine for subsequent offense within a year
  • Three points added to your license

Alaska

None

$75 - $150 fine. Four points added to your license

Arizona

Max fine of $250 and 2 points on license

Max fine of $250 and 2 points on license

Arkansas

None

  • $100 fine for first offense within a year
  • $200 fine for second offense within a year
  • $500 fine for subsequent offense within a year
  • Three points added to your license

California

Base fine of $100 plus 1 point on license

  • $100 fine
  • $35 fine for making an illegal right turn at a red light
  • One point added to your license

Colorado

  • Max fine of $75
  • No points added on your license
  • Not included on driving record
  • Not reported to Department of Public Safety

Usually a $100 fine. Four points added to your license

Connecticut

None

Usually a $134 fine. Two points added to your license

Delaware

  • Max civil or administrative assessment fee of $112.50.
  • Not included in driving record and
  • Can’t be used for insurance purposes
  • License can be suspended if fee is not paid
  • $75 - $230 in fines for first offense
  • $100 - $575 in fines for each subsequent offense in a two-year period

District of Columbia

$150 fine. License cannot be suspended for non-payment. No points added to license

$150 fine. Usually two points added to your license

Florida

$158 fine. No points added to license

Usually a $150 and $275 fine. Usually three points added to your license

Georgia

Max civil monetary penalty of $70. Not included in driving record and can’t be used for insurance purposes

Usually a $200 - $250 fine with a max of $1,000. Three points added to your license

Hawaii

  • Max civil monetary penalty of $200 for a first offense
  • $300 for a second offense
  • $500 for a subsequent offense
  • $200 fine for first offense within a year
  • $300 fine for second offense within a year
  • $500 fine for subsequent offense within a year

Idaho

None

Usually a $90 fine. Three points added to your license

Illinois

  • Max civil penalty of $100 or driver can complete driver safety program, or both
  • License will be suspended if a fine for multiple offenses is not paid
  • Not included in driving record

Usually a $120 fine. 20 points added to your license

Indiana

None

Max $35.50 fine. If contested and you lose, fine will be increased based on your driving record

Iowa

$65 - $100 fine depending on jurisdiction

  • Usually a $195 fine
  • Additional $500 fine if there’s an injury
  • Additional $1,000 fine if there’s a death

Kansas

None

$75 fine

Kentucky

None

$20 to $100 fine. Three points added to your license

Louisiana

$100 - $125 fine depending on jurisdiction. Not included in driving record

Usually a $150 - $225 fine

Maine

None

Usually a $146 fine. Four points added to your license

Maryland

  • Max fine of $100
  • Not included in driving record
  • Can’t be used for insurance purposes

Usually a $140 fine. Fine increased to $180 if it causes an accident

Massachusetts

None

$40 - $155 fine. Two points added to your license

Michigan

None

Up to a $100 fine. Two points added to your license

Minnesota

None

Up to $300 in fines

Mississippi

None

  • $100 fine for first offense within a year
  • $200 fine for second offense within a year
  • $500 fine for subsequent offense within a year
  • Driver can complete driver safety program to prevent citation being put on driving record

Missouri

Generally a $100 fine. One point added to your license depending on jurisdiction

Usually a $100 fine. One point added to your license depending on jurisdiction

Montana

None

  • $10 - $100 fine for first offense within a year
  • $25 - $200 fine for second offense within a year
  • $50 to $500 fine for subsequent offense
  • Two points added to your license

Nebraska

None

Usually a $75 fine. One point added to your license

Nevada

Varies

Up to $1,000 in fines. Four points added to your license

New Hampshire

None

  • $62 fine for first offense within a year and $124 fine for second offense within a year
  • Three points added to your license

New Jersey

None

$50 - $200 fine. Two points added to your license

New Mexico

$66 - $100 depending on jurisdiction. Vehicle may be seized for non-payment of fine depending on jurisdiction

$25 fine. Three points added to your license

New York

  • Max fine of $50
  • Not included in driving record
  • Can’t be used for insurance purposes

$50 - $300 fine. Three points added to your license

North Carolina

  • $50 - $100 fine depending on jurisdiction
  • No points added to your license and
  • Can’t be used for insurance purposes

Max $100 fine. Three points added to your license

North Dakota

None

Usually a $20 - $100 fine. Two points added to your license

Ohio

  • Max fine of $150
  • No points added to your license
  • Can’t be used for insurance purposes
  • $150 fine for first offense within a year
  • $250 fine for second offense within a year
  • $500 fine for subsequent offense
  • Two points added to your license

Oklahoma

None

$5 - $500 fine. Two points added to your license

Oregon

Max of $100

$135 - $1,000 fine

Pennsylvania

  • Max fine of $100
  • Not included in driving record
  • Can’t be used for insurance purposes

$25 fine. Three points added to your license

Rhode Island

  • $85 fine
  • Not included in driving record and
  • Can’t be used for insurance purposes until final adjudication

$85 fine

South Carolina

Varies

Max $100 fine. Four points added to your license

South Dakota

None

$122.50 - $500 fine. Three points added to your license

Tennessee

  • $50 fine
  • Not included in driving record
  • Can’t be used for credit rating
  • Can’t be used for insurance purposes until final adjudication

$50 fine

Texas

  • Max civil or administrative penalty of $75 (only enforced in certain areas)
  • Not included in driving record and
  • Can’t be used for credit rating.
  • DMV may refuse registration of vehicle alleged to be involved in a violation

$150 - $275 fine. Two points added to your license

Utah

None

Usually a $120 fine. 50 points added to your license

Vermont

None

Usually a $220 fine. Two points added to your license

Virginia

  • Max $50 fine
  • Not included in driving record
  • Can’t be used for insurance purposes

Max fine of $350

Washington

  • Max $48 fine or no more than a parking ticket within issuing jurisdiction
  • Not included in driving record
  • Will be processed as a parking infraction

Max fine of $48 plus fees

West Virginia

None

  • $100 fine for first offense within a year
  • $200 fine for second offense within a year
  • $500 fine for subsequent offense
  • Three points added to your license

Wisconsin

None

  • $20 - $40 fine for first offense within a year
  • $50 - $100 for subsequent offense within a year
  • Three points added to your license

Wyoming

None

Fine of $85 to $135

The information for this table was gathered from data collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Driving Laws by NOLO

What Is the Purpose of Red Light Cameras?

Red light cameras are designed to decrease risky behavior and traffic fatalities associated with running red lights. Implementing these devices has been shown to reduce red light traffic fatalities by 21% in large cities and other traffic signal-related deaths by 14%.

Red light cameras will take pictures of drivers who pass through a red light instead of stopping.

What Should You Do if You Get a Red Light Camera Ticket?

You have a few options if you get a red light camera ticket, which include:

  • Pleading guilty - You’ll be required to pay any fines and possibly receive points on your license as well as adjustments to your insurance.
  • Pleading not guilty - You will be required to appear in court or mail in pertinent documentation. You can also choose legal representation to help win your case.
  • Making a request to attend traffic school - You will still be required to pay any associated fines as well as the cost of traffic school. However, points will most likely not be added to your license.

Regardless of what you choose, do not ignore the ticket. Doing so could result in additional fines, you may not be able to register your vehicle and the court may issue a warrant for your arrest.

What if You Accidentally Received a Red Light Camera Ticket?

If you accidentally receive a red light ticket, you have the option to contest. This means you will provide the court with any documentation that may prove that you did violate a law. This could be with a sworn statement from the driver of the vehicle, stating you were not behind the wheel when the violation occurred. You can also inform the court that you may have had to cross through a red light camera in order to make room for an emergency response vehicle or to avoid an accident.

You can challenge a red light camera ticket if you feel you received one unfairly.

Make an appointment, take whatever documentation you have and head to the proper courthouse. You can then present your case to a judge. You can also get legal representation to help with the proceedings. If you don’t want to go in person, you can send in your documentation and information through mail, usually by filling out the information located on the back of your citation.

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Do You Need a Lawyer For a Red Light Ticket?

You don’t need a lawyer for a red light ticket. You can go through the legal process on your own if you decide to contest the citation. However, having a lawyer can take much of the burden off of your shoulders because lawyers understand how the legal process works, they understand the language, what documentation is necessary and they can appear in court on your behalf.

Red Light Ticket FAQs

Are red light cameras legal?

This depends on where you live. Some states have prohibited the use of red light cameras while many others permit their use.

What’s the difference between a traffic camera and a red light camera?

A traffic camera is usually used to help determine the timing of the light. A red light camera is specifically meant to take pictures of drivers who run red lights.

Will I get a point on my record for a red light camera ticket?

This depends on the state you live in and whether you take a traffic safety course, which can stop points from being added to your license. There is a table above that breaks down how each state handles red light camera tickets.

Key Takeaways

  • Red light cameras take images of drivers and their license plates who cross past walkway lines at a traffic signal instead of stopping.
  • The fine amount for a traffic ticket varies by state. Not all states can administer fines for running a red light.
  • You can dispute a red light camera ticket by mail, usually by filling out the information on the back of the citation and sending in any pertinent evidence that would prove your innocence.
  • You can get a lawyer to argue against a red light camera ticket, though it is not required.

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